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Application process for studying in the USA

Once the desired university and the appropriate subject have been found, the next step is to apply. What is the first thing to organize? By when do the application documents have to be submitted to the host university? Who should the application be addressed to and who decides on admission? Many university applicants think about these and similar questions.

In the US it is A matter for every single university and yours Departments about the type of To determine the application processTo set application deadlines and define admission criteria. There is therefore no uniform application process for studying in the USA.

Nevertheless, certain similarities can be noted for the individual types of study with regard to the application process for a degree in the USA.

Application process in checklist format

  • Select university and study program in the USA
  • Find out about the admission requirements
  • Early Register for language and, if applicable, admission tests
  • Note the application deadline (s)
  • Compile application documents:
    • Application form
    • Transcript of Records
    • Proof of funding
    • If applicable, sworn translation of the Bachelor and / or Master’s certificate
    • Course wish list (semester abroad and summer sessions)
    • Letter of motivation / essay and letter of recommendation (especially for a complete degree in the USA)
    • College Contact customers: Fill out the contact form and agree to the terms and conditions
  • Complete Submit application early
  • In the case of acceptance, the US university hires Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 / DS-2019) off, sometimes in combination with a Welcome letter.
  • Depending on the university and study program: acceptance of the offered study place required

Components of an application and the application process for studying in the USA

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Once the university of your choice has been found, the first thing to do is to get an overview of the application process for studying in the USA.

If you want to study at a college or university in the USA, you usually apply directly to the university in question. The Application process in the USA is so not centralized and outsourced to a central registry.

Although there is with Common Application a standardized application form with which prospective students can apply for several Bachelor programs at different universities at the same time. However, only about 600 of more than 4,500 US universities use it UndergraduatePrograms the Common Application. It is therefore not a national standard.

In addition, such a standardized application process has the disadvantage that the application cannot be individually tailored to the target university. Under certain circumstances, this can reduce the chances of getting a study place.

Clarification of the admission criteria

Since the application for a Bachelor's or Master's degree in the USA is more complex than for a short-term study, it is advisable to to contact the US university for the first time around a year in advance. Recruitment agencies like College Contact take this step for students. You clarify with the university in the USA which admission criteria apply to the individual applicant, for example whether they have to take an admission test. They also provide applicants with the necessary application forms for studying in the USA.

In addition, the College Contact student advisors will find out at this point whether if necessary, an equivalency test is necessary. This comes partially for master’s applicants from Germany, since Bachelor students in the USA usually study one year longer, namely four years.

In the case of an evaluation, the equivalence of the bachelor's degree obtained in Germany is checked on the basis of the courses and achievements of the applicant. Since additional documents are often requested from the home university for this purpose, the process can change up to two months drag on.

Special case: application as a transfer student

The application for so-called Transfer Students. As Transfer student applies to those who already have a certain number Credits at a university and that Continue your studies at a US university would like to. Different variants can be distinguished here.

Change of university as part of a transfer degree program

Many degree programs at community colleges are designed to be students switch to a bachelor's degree at a US university after two yearsprovided they meet the academic requirements. A crediting of the courses towards the bachelor’s degree is then normally possible without any major inconvenience, as the course content is coordinated with one another.

Change from German to US universities as part of the bachelor's degree

Students from Germany who want to continue their bachelor's degree at a US university have to rely on one thorough examination discontinue their previously acquired academic achievements. Many US universities use the services of a so-called Credential Evaluators such as WES (World Education Services).

Crediting is sometimes made more difficult by the differing study structure in the USA: The bachelor's degree at American universities in the first two years consists mainly of general education courses. Some of these cannot be replaced by specialist courses taken in Germany. In this case it is necessary that the students take courses from the field of General Studies catch up at the US university.

An exception is the "Advanced standing". For applicants with 13 school years, the upper school courses of the last school year are used for the Studium Generale counted. Conversely, Transfer Students from the USA may have to attend certain specialist courses if they switch to a German university during their bachelor's degree.

Registration for language and admission tests

To the Participation in a standardizedLanguage tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS cannot avoid non-native speakers who want to complete a full degree in the USA. In the case of semester and summer programs, other language certificates are sometimes accepted, such as the DAAD language certificate or very good to good English grades in the Abitur.

In addition, many US colleges are asking for participation in one Bachelor or master degree one of the following academic aptitude tests ahead:

In order for applicants to have enough time to thoroughly prepare for the language and, if applicable, admission tests, it is advisable to register early, preferably round nine to twelve months in advance. The test results for applications for the Fall semester are present. Who is for that Spring semester applies, should take the necessary tests half a year before the planned start of studies.

The application process for a semester abroad in the USA is usually less complex. Aptitude tests are for example in the semester area unusual. Hence a Six to nine months lead time usually sufficient. So there is still enough time to apply for BAföG abroad or a student visa for the USA, for example.

Organization of the application documents

© CSU San Bernardino

Apply quickly and easily and enjoy all the advantages of a top university in the USA? The semester program of the CSU San Bernardino makes it possible.

Prospective students need various documents for their application, which must be organized in good time. The application form is essential. Furthermore, that belongs Transcript of Records to the classic documents for an application to study in the USA, as well as a Proof of funding.

Transfer Students must also provide additional evidence such as Course descriptions (Syllabi) to the target university.

They also are at many universities in the US certified translations of German-language certificates from the Bachelor and possibly also from the Master is required. At some institutions, the certificate grades determine admission. In the semester area, however, the certificates mostly only serve to get a better picture of the applicants' previous knowledge.

All of these documents can be compiled comparatively quickly. Since usually no other forms are required for a semester abroad and summer sessions apart from the documents mentioned, a shorter-term application is often possible.

If you want to use College Contact's application and placement service, you only need to fill out a contact form in addition to the application documents and agree to the terms and conditions.

Letter of motivation and recommendation for Bachelor and Master applicants

The organizational effort for a full-time study is usually somewhat higher compared to a short-term study. This is because American universities almost always receive letters of recommendation and letters of motivation, respectively, from Bachelor and Master’s applicants Essays request.

Issuing a Letter of recommendation by a lecturer or professor four to six weeks claim. Prospective doctoral students often also have to include a so-called in their documents Research proposal in which you outline your research project.

Good to know: who is in favor of one Transfer Degree Applying to a community college in the US usually gets one Transfer coordinator assigned. When the time comes, he will help the student apply for a bachelor's degree at a US college or university.

When putting together the application documents, it is important not to lose sight of the application deadline for the US university. The following applies: the earlier the application is submitted, the better. This leaves enough time for further preparation.


Application deadlines for studying in the USA

There are no uniform application deadlines at US universities. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that each college and university decides individually on the application deadline. On the other hand the application deadlines vary from study type to study type.

Applications for summer sessions are possible at shorter notice than for a master’s degree. In addition, there are programs such as language courses or further training, which usually take place several times a year, so that there are no fixed application deadlines. If all places in a language course are occupied, the university closes the program and applications are possible for the next course.

Also for language courses prospective customers should submit their application at least three months before the start of the course to leave enough time to apply for a visa. Who in an accommodationOn-campus would like to live, has to apply at some universities even earlier.

Bachelor and master studies

For bachelor and master applications for the Fall semester are the deadlines often between January and March. However, there are also universities with application deadlines in November, May or June. As a guideline: Applications should be submitted no later than the beginning of the year.

If you start your studies in the USA on Spring semester Due to the lower number of applicants, a shorter-term application is sometimes possible. Nevertheless, it is advisable to apply early. Who himself in October of the previous year applies, that leaves a good window of time for further organization.

In particular in Graduate- There are degree programs that cater to everyone Academic Term start and consequently have several application deadlines. However, the majority of international students will start studying in the USA in the fall.

Semester abroad

In the semester area in the US there are often no fixed application deadlines. The colleges and universities open the application process at a certain time, for example in late summer. From then on it is possible to submit applications. A few universities set quotas so that the number of study places is limited. In general, the chances for international students to get a place in a semester are very good.

Summer sessions

There are also often no fixed deadlines for summer sessions in the USA. The courses are allocated immediately after the application has been received. Since summer schools are held between May and September Applications usually from February or March possible.

Types of application deadlines in the US

The application process for studying in the USA seems confusing at first, because it is several application deadlines gives:

  • University application deadline: Application deadlines that apply to the entire university
  • Department deadline: On GraduateAt the level, it is common for each department to set its own application deadline. For master applicants, this deadline takes precedence over the general one University application deadline.
  • Document deadline: At US universities with Document deadline it is possible to submit certain documents after the official application deadline. However, this should be avoided as far as possible, as some universities consider the documents submitted later in the order in which they are received. This may mean that applicants have fewer chances of getting a place at the university.

In addition, US universities have different types of application deadlines:

  • Rolling admissions: The "Rolling admissions“-Procedure is particularly common in semester and summer programs, but can also be found in the full study area, for example in MBA programs. In this case there no fixed application deadline. Instead, applications are possible over a longer period of time. They will be processed immediately upon receipt. At some universities there is also a so-called Priority deadline. Applications received up to this point will be given preferential treatment.
  • Regular application deadline: In this case, the university or the department will set a regular deadline by which all applications must have been received. In some cases, earlier deadlines apply to international applicants than to local students.
  • Early action: Some universities and colleges offer bachelor applicants the option of their Application before the regular application period to submit. Who to Fall semester If you want to start studying in the USA, you can usually submit your documents in November of the previous year. The university will inform applicants as early as mid-December whether they will be able to study. At the "Early action“Procedure, the applicant is not bound by the university's acceptance. He can also choose another university.
  • Early decision / Early binding: The "Early decision"Principle is similar to the"Early action“Procedure. The difference is that a "Early decision“-Applying to a single university is only possible. In the event of acceptance, the applicant undertakes to accept the study place at this and no other university. Prospective students should think twice in advance whether they are bind to a university want.

Time of admission to study in the USA

Once the application has been submitted, the wait begins and one of the most unpleasant phases of the application process for studying in the USA begins. When applicants can expect a message from the university depends on the respective institution.

The time of application is also decisive. Usually most applications go for the Fall semester one, at least for Bachelor programs and in the semester area. Accordingly, the Processing time higher on average than at the start of a semester in the USA in spring.

The host university often gets back to you relatively quickly, especially when it comes to applications for short-term programs. This has to do with the fact that the documents usually come with International Admission Office received and processed there.

Students applying for a Semester abroad apply, wait average four to eight weeks for an answer. At Summer sessions Feedback can be given after a few hours, but also after several weeks. The average processing time is between four and six weeks. How long applicants wait for an answer depends on how thoroughly the university checks the previous knowledge of the participants.

At Transfer Students take place the Confirmation of study place and the classification partially in a subject semester time shifted. This is due to the fact that the university often first checks the courses taken so far and the academic achievements that have been acquired. Only then does it decide whether to accept the applicant as "Freshman"(First year of study),"Sophomore"(Second year of study),"Junior"(Third year of study) or"Senior“(Fourth year of study).

More complex application process for studying in the USA at Master’s level

The application process for a master’s degree in the USA is more complex. The applications often go to that initially International Admission Office. Since applications at the master’s level are usually more subject-specific than at the bachelor’s level, this is the main one Admission Office the documents subsequently to the responsible department further.

It is not uncommon that Applications first collected and finally sighted by a panel of professors become. Also, all documents usually have to be submitted in the original before confirmations are sent. This explains why master's applicants often have to wait longer until they finally hold the coveted pre-document for the F-1 visa, the I-20, in their hands.